Is WordPress free in every sense of the word? What’s the idea behind its open-source nature? What can be the hidden costs behind running a WordPress website? These are the exact questions we’ll proceed to answer on today’s blog on ThemeGrill.
WordPress is the leading Content Management System (CMS) platform on the internet. And this trend of using WordPress doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. With over 60% market share in the CMS industry, WordPress runs over 41% of all websites on the internet.
Moreover, it’s the leading platform when it comes to blogging on the internet. But any user that’s new to blogging might consider how much effort it takes to create and manage one. However, the leading questions in the mind of any new WordPress user are – “Is WordPress Free?”, “Is WordPress Site Free?”
So, we aim to help you conclude all the questions and more on our blog today. Hence, let’s begin!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a popular and user-friendly website building and managing platform. One of the reasons that most CMS users love WordPress is that it doesn’t require one to have coding skills to build a website. It’s an open-source CMS that empowers you to create simple to advanced websites.
So, let’s get started with the second topic to tackle here; the distinction between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
While we have an excellent article here summarizing the whole difference between WordPress and WordPress.com, the main idea comes down to the following points:
WordPress.org: It’s the home that serves as the repository for WordPress software and many of its plugins and themes. It’s open-source software that helps you build blogs and websites and manage their content.
WordPress.com: It’s an online platform that lets you build websites on its self-hosted servers using WordPress as the CMS. Automattic owns the service, and the platform itself operates similarly to Tumblr, Blogger, or Wix.
It’s important to note that when the term ‘WordPress’ is used, it refers to the software hosted on WordPress.org unless specified otherwise.
Is WordPress free?
Essentially yes, WordPress is completely free. However, it comes with some major points that you need to consider.
The WordPress software itself is completely free, and users can freely use it for their websites. On the other hand, they still need to host their website through a web hosting company, get a domain name, and deal with the rest of the burden of owning websites, all of which cost money.
So, you won’t be able to run a WordPress site for free. To use a metaphor, WordPress is like a free car. Even though the car itself is free, you’re going to have to spend money on fuel and maintenance.
Why is WordPress Free?
WordPress is completely free because of its open-sourced nature. WordPress is licensed under the GNU-GPL License and distributing, modifying, and sharing WordPress is completely free. It includes free plugins and themes too!
Built using MySQL and PHP, the creators of WordPress worked to create a web platform that was completely free and open-source in nature. So yes, in true essence, WordPress is free.
WordPress is a shared product amongst millions of users worldwide, built, developed, and managed by all their combined effort rather than being owned by a single person or a single entity.
Can I Make a WordPress Blog for Free?
Now, this takes us back to our earlier topic regarding the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While you can blog freely on WordPress.com with some limitations, you can’t do so by using WordPress as the CMS itself. You still need to get a website to do so.
However, hosting and domain registration costs are very low these days, so you can go ahead and get a site at minimal costs. To drop the cost of your WordPress site, you can choose free WordPress themes and free WordPress plugins. This can easily drive down the cost of maintaining your website as well.
What Else is Free in WordPress?
It’s not just WordPress itself that is completely free. With its open-sourced nature comes additional contributions put in by the community to improve the CMS as a whole; this comes in the form of free plugins and themes.
Users constantly come up with amazing free content to serve the community. Some also consider it a source of income and provide pro service along with additional features for a defined amount of money.
But the bottom line remains that if you want to add functionality to your website or change its look without investing a single dime, you can freely do so.
Let’s highlight each of these components of the free nature of WordPress:
1) Free Themes
Users on WordPress can choose to use free themes to add a better look to your website. These can come with different layouts, color designs, additional theme features, parallax effects, and more.
Themes like Zakra are becoming a better option for users every day, with more and more theme developers coming up with great themes for free.
2) Free Plugins
WordPress can always integrate additional functionalities that users can enjoy. Whether it’s SEO optimization tools, form builders, site security, image optimization, social media tools, or anything else, WordPress has you covered.
Choosing to use a plugin comes as an easy option for WordPress users as you can find tools for almost every purpose. Below are some of the examples:
BlockArt: A WordPress Gutenberg block plugin that comes with 6 custom blocks.
The opportunities are endless. And what’s more? It’s all free to use.
3) Free Updates
It’s important to highlight that WordPress intends to remain free until the end of time. So obviously, any major updates to WordPress are freely shared for all users. You’ll never have to worry about not being able to update your WordPress installation ever.
Updates are an essential part of every software, and WordPress provides all the updates to all its users without any distinction.
Hidden Costs Behind WordPress
An important concern for many WordPress users is the area of additional costs for running WordPress websites. Are there any pitfalls you could get into while setting up your WordPress platform? In simple, no. But there are areas that you might need to invest in.
And this is without even getting into the territory of WordPress.com. While setting up a free blog on WordPress.com is easy, a certain paywall prohibits you from some features that you can freely access on your setup site. This includes your personal domain that isn’t registered under WordPress.com, monetization, and access to plugins and themes management.
Hosting can be quite a pitfall for your expenses based on the provider you choose. The best hosting services like Bluehost, SiteGround, etc. provide excellent site management and security services as well as additional features like extra server space, free SSL certificates, and more.
If you’re a WordPress site owner looking to cut down your site expenses, an appropriate hosting service is necessary. Luckily for you, if you’re running a startup, you can also opt for free hosting services like 000Webhost.
2) Premium Themes
Some website owners might prefer to choose premium themes instead of free ones. These premium themes come with the best features available and high-quality support.
But, using these premium themes can be quite expensive compared to their free counterparts. The decision to make here can be based on whether or not the additional costs for your website are worth the additional features you can get.
Themes such as ColorMag have both free and premium versions that you can use as per your site’s requirements.
3) Premium Plugins
You can also choose to use premium plugins for your website too. Getting premium licenses for your website tools can be one of the best ways to improve your overall website. Whether you’re creating online courses, adding user registration forms to your site, or enabling better security, the features of premium plugins can be unmatchable by other free plugins.
The downside is that paying for the premium license for each premium plugin for your website can easily rack up expenses. However, they provide premium support and updates to pro users. And that can certainly play into your decision of choosing paid vs free plugins.
Monetization in WordPress
Now that we clarified that WordPress is completely free and open-sourced, a huge question remains about whether you can get profit from it. What are the legal terms behind selling WordPress themes and plugins? Can you make money from your WordPress blogs?
First of all, let’s clarify something crucial: yes, you can profit from WordPress. WordPress is definitely a business you can invest in, provided that you have the right mindset going into it.
1) For Developers and WordPress Professionals
Some companies like WPEverest and Yoast make money by providing users with premium plugins for various site needs; Other websites like ElegantThemes sell users WordPress themes and theme-building tools.
But that’s not all! There are also other means of monetization through WordPress too. SEO experts and specialists can make bank off their services. WordPress experts and bloggers continually blog every day to provide the best tips, themes, plugin advice, and more to users worldwide.
Additionally, there are other means of monetization through WordPress, even on the developer side! This includes providing fully furnished websites for users, setting up websites for companies, and more. You can even set up and manage enterprise-level websites for large companies as a fully-fledged service. The opportunities are endless.
2) For Bloggers
If you’re a blogger, you might have also been searching for the question – is WordPress blog free? Since we’ve already made you clear about it, let’s find out how you can earn from WordPress as a blogger.
WordPress blogging is also certainly a means of income for many users. Whether it’s simple lifestyle blogging or business-related, blogging provides a broad avenue for marketing. Content marketing and lead generation are some of the leading means of online marketing products, and WordPress blogs easily support such activities.
Adding sponsor deals, advertisements, and business offers to your blog opens ways for you to make money off your website. For websites that run on the WordPress service itself, monetization is completely left up to the site owners.
However, blog monetization on the free WordPress.com blog is a bit more limited. You can learn more about how WordPress.com monetization works over here.
But what it boils down to is that free WordPress.com users cannot earn through their website ads unless they apply for the WordAds program. However, it requires high enough viewer traffic and verification of your site content by WordPress.com itself.
3) WordPress Plugins and Themes under GPL-GNU License
By now, we’ve made it clear that WordPress itself is filed under the GNU-GPL license; this also means that all its plugins and themes are filed underneath it. While WordPress itself is an open-source project, it’s not copyright free. In fact, all the modifications and contributions made to WordPress can be copyrighted too.
Essentially, that means WordPress plugins and themes can also be copyrighted; this provides a legal means of protecting the products you create using WordPress. So, if you’re a developer, you don’t have to worry about having your plugins and themes stolen or replicated.
Moreover, content produced using WordPress does not fall under GPL. You’re completely entitled to profit off any blogs, videos, portfolios, and other content that you create using WordPress.
So, feel free to monetize your blogs without any worries. You can learn more about this whole ordeal on this page explaining WordPress Licensing and the GPL.
Will WordPress Remain Free?
Absolutely, yes. WordPress is free, and it aims to stay that way till the end of its service. The WordPress trademark is owned by the WordPress Foundation, a charitable organization based around the free use of WordPress. The foundation aims to ensure that WordPress will be free to users worldwide until the end of time itself.
Therefore, you can stay safe knowing that the CMS you love and use is sure to stay free.
And that ends our discussion on the topic of ‘Is WordPress Free?’ We hope this article provided you with some valuable insight into the free and open-source nature of WordPress and what it means for you. If there’s anything we can help you with, feel free to comment. Keep the discussion going down below!
If you loved the article, please feel free to share it among your circle to let them find answers to the questions like – is WordPress blog free?
You can also learn more about how to come up with a blog name for your website or ways to help you monetize your website better. For more articles related to WordPress, visit our blog page; we have the perfect articles for you.